The staff of St. Charles Family Dentistry in St. Charles, Illinois was challenged in late 2015 to meet specific revenue goals for 2016.
The reward for meeting that goal included a one-week trip in July 2017 to serve the children of Northern Belize with complimentary dental care.
Dr. Edward and Lynn Lipskis have participated in a day of complimentary dental care in Chicagoland every year through the “Dentists with a Heart” program, so they are no strangers to helping those who can’t afford dental care.
In fact, many Chicagoland dental practices join them in this annual Valentine’s Day gesture to the community.
So a trip to Belize was a natural extension of the program and a chance to show their staff about the needs of those in a third-world country.
Preparation for the July 2017 trip started in late 2016. Dr. Ed, Dr. Lynn and Dr. Dana visited Northern Belize to lay the ground work for the trip with Pastor Antonette Young of United in Christ Evangelical Church in Orange Walk Town who would serve as their local coordinator for the project.
the scope of the trip was determined and all logistics were discussed 6 months ahead of time. Pastor Young used her contacts in the Northern Belize area and selected two elementary schools in two distinctly needy villages.
Trinidad, about 20 miles West of Orange Walk in the Orange Walk District (off of San Antonio Road) and Santa Marta, a village about 30 miles Southeast of Orange Walk in the Belize District (off of the Old Northern Highway) were selected due to their close proximity to Orange Walk, which served as base for the mission activities.
She met with local school and health personnel to secure the help of a few local dentists to help oversee the dental procedures and serve as on-site consultants.
Hotel De La Fuente in downtown Orange Walk provided the 10 staff members who came with discounted rooms thanks to the generosity of owner Landy De La Fuente.
He also coordinated a boat tour down the New River to the Lamanai Mayan Ruins for the dental team after a few busy days of dental procedures.
During two days, 163 dental procedures were completed. Everything from cleanings to extractions were performed in make-shift dental offices in school classrooms.
Because of the lack of full dental facilities, the creative staff used portable camping stoves and pressure cookers to sterilize instruments. Much of the necessary tools and supplies were donated by Henry Schein, Inc. headquartered in New York through Henry Schein Cares, their global corporate social responsibility program.
Below you’ll find highlights of the two days of dental care as well as photos of the rest of the week which was used to reward the staff with relaxation, tourist opportunities and other team-building activities.
DAY ONE: SANTA MARTA
DAY TWO: TRINIDAD
THE REST OF THE WEEK: DISCOVERING BELIZE
After 2 successful days of serving the residents of Northern Belize, the staff celebrated with a boat tour down the New River to the Lamanai Mayan Ruins South of Orange Walk on Wednesday.
Then a bus ride down to the Ocean Club Resort on the Placencia Penninsula for 3 days of relaxation and tourism on the 16 mile long Penninsula.